When I was in my twenties, I went to college full-time, worked at the university part-time, and managed a coffee shop full-time. I worked my tall off, but no worries, my social calendar was not affected. I was able to handle it all.
I had everything down pat. I went to school Tuesdays and Thursdays from morning until night, and maybe one class Monday and Wednesday. If I had a break on campus, I filled it with time as a student assistant in the Philosophy and Religious studies department on campus. This was perfect. I was able to do my job and study my courses. Campus jobs are amazing for students.
I would open the coffee shop at 5:00 am on the days Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays; I would close it on Saturdays and Sundays. I learned a lot about customer service, bookkeeping, tracking inventory, and even more about managing people. It was a great experience that was most of the time too much for me to handle. But I did.
One Friday morning, I opened the coffee shop. Afterwards I went to campus for a group project, before meeting my friend in the park to go roller blading. It was a great day. And the evening was even better. because we get it.I met my friends back on campus for a party at one of the football players house. To this day, I don’t believe I had more than two drinks. However, my friends I needed a break and decided a couple of hours at a nearby diner for some coffee and food would do the trick.
Now, almost 24 hours later, I was dropped off at my car to head on home – an apartment about fifteen minutes off campus with a college friend. I should not have driven.
I remember the exact moment that got me into the ICU. I was tired of listening to that staple early 2000s song from Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me”. Back then CD players in your car was the thing and my collection just happened to be under the passenger car seat. Leaning over was the last thing I remembered in that car.
Weirdly enough the next thing I remember before waking up in the hospital was riding in the ambulance. The people thought they were losing me. I can’t explain it, but I could hear and see them talking.
I was 22, lost and didn’t value all I had around me enough, nor did I have the ability to value what lay ahead.
I know many kids don’t at this age. Most of us thought we were invincible, impulsive in our actions. It’s not until we have kids that we truly realize how valuable life is, and how easily it can slip away. This is true whether you were reckless in your youth or not.
There were repercussions to my mistake that I suffer to this day. The blow to my head cracking the steering wheel because the airbag did not deploy, has impacted my memories and my intelligence. Words often become displaced for me.
However, that day I learned the value I was to those around me. That changed me. It made me realize that I must be responsible with the gift that God has given me. Trust me I am not a religious person, at least not in the traditional sense of intuitionalism. And this is one.